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How to Attract Non-Resident Investors to Local Currency Bonds : The Cases of Ukraine, Panama, Colombia, and Brazil

Driven by abundant liquidity and searching for better returns, many foreign investors became well acquainted with bonds denominated in the local currencies of emerging market countries. As documented by the country cases in this paper, Debt Management Offices (DMOs) in these countries happily embraced access to a "new" funding source and a more diverse investor base. The note explores how countries attracted foreign investors for local currency financing. DMOs have used several avenues to sell local currency securities to non-resident investors: from issuing Credit Linked Notes, or, Global Bonds offshore; to facilitating non-resident access to the domestic local currency bond market either by building a bridge with an International Clearing Securities Depository (ICSD), or, by fully integrating them through their participation in the local CSD. Countries, including Chile, Peru and Ukraine, frequently used Credit Linked Notes (CLNs) in the initial stages of local currency domestic bond market development. Others, such as Brazil and Colombia at times and Uruguay more frequently, relied on local currency Global Bonds. These securities save non-residents from the uncertainty of the local jurisdiction and the hurdles of the local clearing and settlement for which investors are willing to accept lower yields than the ones paid by domestic government securities. Neither of these avenues bring non-resident investors directly to the domestic bond market which is desirable if the DMO wants to reap the benefits of a more liquid and transparent market and potentially lower government's borrowing costs. The participation of non-residents in the domestic bond market would require building a bridge with an ICSD, or, relying on the local CSD. The bridge has been the solution in countries where custody and settlement processes pose unsurmountable obstacles for non-residents to jump into the domestic debt market; successful experiences of this avenue include countries like Mexico, Chile and Peru. The alternate avenue is to develop a local infrastructure robust enough so that non-residents do not miss the ICSD; this has been the path chosen by Colombia and Brazil. No alternative has emerged as a superior solution and each arrangement must be assessed under the context of the particular country.